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Steven Avery, the center of the popular Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer, says the Wisconsin prison system will not allow him to speak with media for a formal interview.
Avery made his claim in a letter to WISN 12 News in Milwaukee, which the news station received Thursday. In his letter, Avery wrote he is willing to grant an interview to that station, but he is not allowed.
Joy Staab, director of public relations for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, previously told The Hollywood Reporter that the prison had declined to connect journalists to Avery. “We are not facilitating interviews out of respect for the victims,” the official said on Tuesday.
Avery served 18 years in prison for a sexual assault conviction out of Manitowoc County, Wis., for which he was exonerated by DNA evidence in 2003. Then in 2005, Avery was convicted of the murder of 25-year-old Teresa Halbach. The Netflix series debuted Dec. 18 of last year.
Avery is currently an inmate at Waupun Correctional Institution. In his letter to WISN 12, Avery stressed his innocence.
Attorney Jerry Buting, part of Avery’s former defense team who was made famous overnight thanks to the series, recently told THR that the prison system’s unwillingness to facilitate an interview is nothing new, however, its reason this time was new.
“I’ve never heard that explanation given before,” Buting said.
Harvard Law School professor and retired federal judge Nancy Gertner told THR the department of corrections has the ability to stop cameras from coming inside the prison, but it cannot ban a reporter from talking to Avery in the capacity of a visitor.
“But [the department has] to be making decisions based on institutional concerns, concerns relating to the prison, not ‘out of respect for the victims,’” Gertner said.
Staab said journalists, like the public, may write Avery, and he has the ability to call from the prison and add people to his visitors’ list.
When asked if Avery was notified when reporters requested an interview with him through the prison system, Staab replied on Tuesday: “nope.”
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